During the first visit of the American trading vessel Lady Washington to the coastal waters off the Queen Charlotte Islands, in June 1789, it encountered the Kunghit Haida residents of Ninstints. Amicable trade resulted. When the ship returned under a different captain, John Kendrick, later in the year, pilfering of minor items from the ship led to an excessive response from Kendrick, who seized two village chiefs as hostages for return of the pilfered items.
Captain Kendrick had humiliated Chief Coya and Coya was eager for revenge when Lady Washington anchored in 1791. The captain had been drinking and allowed Indians aboard without arming the crew. He escaped down a hatch and re-emerged with his armed officers and crew. In the ensuing battle forty to fifty died - all Natives.
The painting depicts the moment that the Haida have isolated Kendrick on deck, with the crew below. A woman is exhorting the Haida still in the canoes to come aboard.
In later years, relations between the Haida and European visitors and settlers improved.